Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Emblem
The sun was setting over the green plains of Sacae painting the skys in hues of orange and red. Above the cascade of color, stars were already gathering on the curtain of emerging indigo. A hawk was flying over the vast plains, it's yellow eyes widened when it spotted a break in the sea of green.
A human was sitting among the tall grasses, leaning back on his elbows to watch to sun set. His red clothing were a sharp contrast to the yellow eyes, after being satisfied with it's inspection the hawk flew off uninterested.
The human stayed unmoving as the curtain of blue drowned out the orange-yellow of the sun. It was still spring time and the human's copper-colored eyes were starting to close from the lulling warmth before the cold of night set in.
Seconds later the peace was broken by an arrow flying across the field dangerously close to the human's face taking off a few strands of light brown hair as it passed. "Hey Rutger! Come on, Father's gonna kill both of us if we're late for dinner again!" a loud voice trumpeted.
Rutger scowled and grudgingly got up. That's your answer to everything isn't it? Just shoot an arrow at it. Getting up he dusted the grass off his clothing and ran up the hill to join the voice's owner. "Fine, fine I'm here, you can stop yelling!" The man who yelled just gave a teasing smile and started heading back to camp with Rutger follow behind.
"You know something Rutger? You stick out like a sore thumb with that red jacket of yours, you never fit in anywhere do you? Even at home, you really don't look like a Sacaen."
Rutger waved the remark away, "Shut up Masou, everyone in Bulgar has some Bernian blood in them."
Masou's grin broadened, he had heard this answer before so he just pushed up his headband to further hold back his dark green hair. "Yeah I guess your right, don't worry 'bout it bro, none of us get to choose what we look like."
Instead of being calmed Rutger was starting to fume, he despised sympathy on such matters. "Are all older brothers this critical or did you take special charm lessons?" he snapped angrily.
"I'm just saying the truth, it's not like I'm saying it's a bad thing. It's just that...well let me put it this way: no matter how unprejudiced a person is their idea of somebody is always influenced-even a little-by sight and that's just how it is. And some people who need to act differently based on looks are a little...edgy around you. Can't you take up the bow or something?"
"No, you know better then I do that I can't shoot a target even if it's as big as a horse. Why do you think I took up sword fighting?!"
"Yeah that's true, if you changed any then you just wouldn't be Rutger anymore eh?" Masou emphasized his point but ruffling Rutger's hair and promptly got his hand slapped away.
A silence fell among the two Sacaen warriors as they fell into a leisurely pace. It must've been ten minutes or more before Rutger broke the silence. "Masou...do you...do you think that Bern will ever attack us?" Masou tilted his head as if he thought the question was childish, "Well not really. Why would they? After all like you said, nearly everyone here is half Bern so why would they.... Actually you know what? I've never really thought about it."
"Bern hates Sacaens but here in Bulgar we are all of mixed blood. Yet the majority of us look Sacaen so-" Rutger was cut off by Masou's laugh, "You mean all of us but you."
Rutger pretended to ignore the comment, "The Sacaen traits are dominate over most of the Bulgarians. I wonder if Bern feels that their blood is being tainted with Sacaen blood or do they see us as something less of what they see pure Sacaens?"
"That sounds like a question out of one of Father's old books, lay off Rutger or you'll just give yourself a headache. Come on, let's speed up." Masou gave Rutger a reassuring clap on the shoulder before increasing his already long strides.
Barely any light was left in the sky by the time Masou and Rutger reached their home in Bulgar. Despite being a city(due to it's Bern influence) the houses still had an oddly Sacaen look to them. The main feature was the town, it was small to Bern's standards but the houses were spread rather far apart and had little way of fences.
They stopped in front of a particular house that had a small wooden cat shape nailed to the door. Masou had made it when he was a little kid, Rutger always thought it looked ridiculous because the cat's head was horrifically deformed looking, it's ears were too large, and the tail was too long. Their mother however thought it looked lovely.
"Hey, pick up your blade will you? It'll rust if you just leave it outside." Masou reminded as he opened the door. Rutger picked up his sword that was still leaning against the door from practice yesterday, "Stop making things up, it won't rust in it's casing you know. He pulled the edges of his long coat over the scabbard because Mother had a "no weapons in the house!" rule, but it was a plain fact to him that Masou kept his bow and arrows in his room.
"We're not late!" Masou proclaimed as he spotted their mother still setting the table. As Mother said something that sounded like a "call in your father" Rutger hurried to his room and shoved his sword under his bed covers.
Their father was one of those people who wasn't extremely large physically but his presence took up a lot of space. He had a quiet voice that was as straight forward as the arrows he shot. To be simple, he was an older and less sarcastic version of Masou.
Dinner was a quiet time, there really wasn't much conversation except between their parents. Rutger and Masou never had much to talk about, or rather nothing they wanted their parents to know.
"Bern's army has been awfully restless lately." Father remarked his voice oddly lowered. Rutger's head snapped up and Masou's green eyes shone with slight interest. Among the other things, Father was also a man who was fluent in expressions. "Well if you kids want to know the truth the fact is that Bern has been filtering their army through Bulglar, they aren't killing anyone or damaging property but some people are nervous. Don't let it worry you two, small children don't need to mind these things."
This was Masou's turn to become annoyed, "Small children?! Come on Father you don't mean that! Even Rutger's eighteen by now, we stopped being small when we were about this tall." he put his hand about four and a half feet from the floor. Father was blinking in the way that parents do when their children grew up without them noticing, Rutger was just trying to supress one of his rare smiles.
The rest of dinner consisted of a humerus silence as Masou stared at Father in disbelief.
It wasn't until late that night when Father needed them to stop being children....
"Rutger...Rutger wake up." a voice rasped in the darkness. Rutger felt himself being shaken awake, at first he thought it was Masou (who was officially doesn't need sleep anymore) but the urgency in the voice noted that it was Father.
"Come on, get your clothes on and come outside." Father ordered in his usual flat, dry tones. "Take your sword too." he added on. Rutger pushed himself up on an elbow not yet obeying, "Why? What's the use of a sword this late at night?"
Father shook his head, in the silver light of the moon Rutger could see that his dark green hair was streaked with sweat. "It's Bern, they've invaded Bulgar, they're killing everyone." The final understanding made Rutger sit bolt upright, he gaped at his father but closed his mouth almost immediately. Well what did I expect? Only Father could be so calm in a situation like this.
Seeing that his son finally saw the urgency of the situation Father left the room, only then did Rutger notice the bow clenched in his fist and the deep cut on his shoulder. Tossing on his clothes Rutger grabbed his sword and raced outside.
The front door was unlocked and opened, almost immediately a foot soldier lunged at him. Rutger turned ninety degrees to the right and plunged his sword into the soldier's side. Only by the pale wash of light from the moon was Rutger able to distinguish friend from foe and even then it was hard.
It was utter chaos in Bulgar that night, soldiers flooded into the village like water over a broken dam. Soldiers and Bulgarians alike fell dead to the ground. In the midst of the confusion someone cut Rutger across the back. It must've been a shallow wound because it didn't hurt much the only thing he felt in response was a numbed, stinging feeling.
Javelins and arrows streaked the air instead of rain a few arrows even came within inches of getting a head shot on Rutger. He didn't notice until well into the battle that many of the dead bodies weren't just warriors, little children and elders were mixed in as well.
Regardless of the innocent people being murdered there was still a fair amount of warriors being slaughtered. Rutger had taken to keeping a leveled head, he didn't need the distraction of dead friends. But his eyes wouldn't listen to his mind, despite the dim light he could name every fallen he saw:
Nara was the first dead he saw, a petite girl who once nearly shot him with an arrow when they were five and took half an hour apologising.
Knoton, he was a middle aged man who finally managed to convince all of Bulgar to let Rutger stop trying to learn a bow when both of them knew it was futile.
Lansa, a fifteen year old boy who-as a small child-took a "random sword" and Rutger spent a whole afternoon chasing after him to get it back. Through a...complex process all was forgiven and forgotten
Rutger's head was in a turmoil and he felt like slapping himself, he didn't have time to take a trip down memory lane. As if some physic message was spoken all of the foot soldiers spread themselves out and Rutger soon saw the reason why. No...you've got to be kidding! Knights, armored units on war horses. They thundered down using the force of their steeds to drive their lances into the bow weilding warriors.
Rutger was trying to help a Bulgarian archer kill off an approaching foot soldier when he tripped over somebody. He fell on his knees and was about to get up and bolt when he froze stiff. All Sacaens looked something a like, it took a fellow Sacaen to notice the diffence of family features.
"Mosau-?" his voice cracked on the name. Masou was crumpled on the ground with various gash wounds, his blood was soaking into the ground. "Hey Rutger, Father and I...we were hoping that we didn't have to wake you up." he managed to choke out smiling his usual crooked smile. Rutger's yellow eyes were blazing, he was in too much shock to say anything or move for the matter. "Masou...are you..." he didn't have to finish. "Dying? Yeah, I guess so, looks like Bern really does see us as less then Sacaen." Masou grabbed the front of his brother's shirt and pulled him closer. "They're going to kill us all Rutger, you hear me? But you have to try to live, we're all going to die but we have to try."
With that last word Masou's firm grip loosened and his arm fell back among his body, Masou was gone, all that was left of him was a corpse. Rutger stiffened t hen pushed himself up against what felt like a lead weight. "We're all going to die but we have to try."
There was sense in those words though Rutger would've believed it more if it held Masou's usual light sarcasm. Trying to live, if that's what he had to do then he couldn't afford to go beserk, couldn't afford anger. He needed to keep up the coldness and concentration, needed to keep focused.
Standing up he shoved his brown hair out of his eyes as his shocked body slowly loosened and relaxed. "We all die sometime, I guess Bulgar just dies earlier then most." he whispered to himself. His sword went through a soldier's lance followed by a hilt punch to the head.
Rutger had to grit his teeth to keep down the tsunami of rage that was sweeping over him. Can't lose control, have to keep focus! A mercenary was rushing towards him sword raised, Rutger counted the steps. One..two..now! He chose to attack while the mercenary was in mid step, off balance. The sword strike was on target, the mercenary fell to the ground with a hollow thud.
It had been so long and Rutger was getting tired, his arms were weakening and his wrists were becoming numb. By this time the foot soldiers have retreated and the cavaliers dominated the field.
Suddenly his knees buckled and sent him to the ground, ignoring the severe fatigue that dragged at him Rutger forced himself up. If he looked back at this in retrospect, he shouldn't have gotten up.
Someone had came up behind him, all Rutger felt was a crushing blow to the head. He fell on the ground again, after the blinding pain came a dragging darkness. Bern...you cursed- He didn't get to finish his thought as the darkness covered him....
"Hey...uh kid...you okay? Rise and shine!" a voice called almost cheerfully from somewhere beyond the darkness. The voice sounded strange, it had a distinct accent to it, something like what the Bulgarian people sound like. Almost before his eyes opened Rutger was pushing himself up, he was on an army cot. Sunshine was pouring through the opening of a tent and a man dressed in white robes was standing over him.
"Ah, finally awake I see? You got knocked out pretty bad there last night, but no injuries except that scratch on your back, there's not so much as a bruise on your head." the man said cheerily.
Rutger swung his feet over the cot and stood up, truth enough there was no headache and he had forgotten the wound on his back ever existed. But even if he had a splitting pain in his head he wouldn't have cared. "Where am I?!" he yelled swerving on healer. "In Bern of course, the army didn't have a clue what you were doing in Bulgar but some buffoon of a soldier attacked you. Not many Bernian people would go among those mixed Sacaen savages but for a swordsman I guess it would be a haven for purifying the population."
The truth struck him like a ton of bricks, Rutger understood perfectly why he spared. They had mistaken him for a swordsman from Bern. Masou had been right, everyone in Bulgar looked like a Sacaen except for him.
"What happened to the people of Bulgar?" this time his voice was less confident, he was bracing himself for the answer.
"It was as great success, the army finally managed to take out everyone of those Bulgarian scums. Women, children, warriors, all of 'em. There won't be anymore tainted blood around these parts." That was all it took, Rutger stormed out of the tent.
"They're all dead...Masou was...almost right." he murmured. His hand hit something hard against his hip, he still had his sword.
Even though he wasn't on the battle field any more, Rutger couldn't shake off the coldness he had gathered in his core and the oppressive cage of stiff hatred. They were locked in him, he wouldn't go out of control, go berserk. Like last night, he couldn't afford it.
Bern...how could you? Purify the population?! What right do you have to judge who is pure?!
These and other thoughts raged inside of him like a trapped lion raring to get out. But his stoic demeanor caged them in as they slowly melted into a harsh hatred with it's echo of intense sorrow.
He responded like how any other warrior would respond. His father's words echoed in his mind. You know Rutger, revenge is one of those words that is often said but never done. If you feel that your revenge is justified the least you can do to keep yourself sane is to make a plan for what to do afterward. But I would like it better if you try to forget if not forgive, even the worst of enemies.
"I won't have any trouble keeping sane. Besides...it's too late to forget."
Rutger's eyes that was once a warm copper had already turned into the night shine of a wolf's....
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